Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, just two hours outside of Seattle, but didn’t meet each other until they were introduced by a mutual friend, Buzz Osborne. Osborne was a member of a local band, the Melvins. Not long after meeting, Cobain and Novoselic decided to start a band of their own. In 1987, Cobain and Novoselic, along with drummer Aaron Burchhard, started playing college parties. They eventually settled on the name “Nirvana,” but not a drummer. Burckhard was replaced by Buzz Osborne’s bandmate Dale Crover, with whom the newly formed Nirvana recorded their demos. In 1988, the group was signed to Seattle indie label Sub Pop. They replaced Crover with drummer Chad Channing and released their first single “Love Buzz/Big Cheese.” The next year the band released their first album, “Bleach.” The debut album reportedly cost only $606.17 to record. This was the deal of a lifetime considering the album eventually went on to sell more than 1 million copies, although initially it only sold 35,000.
The next year Nirvana would release the single “Sliver,” which was recorded with drummer Dan Peters. Finally, Melvin’s member Buzz Osborne introduced Cobain and Novoselic to “DC Hardcore Punks Scream” drummer, Dave Grohl. Thankfully, Grohl fit right in and would occupy the band’s drumming position from here on out. The next year after signing a new contract with DGC records, Nirvana would release an album so big that it seemed ironically fit that a naked baby would grace its front cover. On September 24th, 1991 “Nevermind” hit stores with force. Although it wasn’t expected to do that well, with the help of the track “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Nevermind” would eventually sell over 26 million copies worldwide. By January of 1992 the album had become so big that it even dethroned “King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s record “Dangerous” to take the #1 spot. Other than “…Teen Spirit” the album included the hits, “In Bloom,” “Come as You Are,” “Lithium,” “Breed,” and “Polly.” The album was truly a massive success.
Besides success, 1992 brought personal changes to Kurt Cobain’s life. After meeting “Hole” front woman Courtney Love, the two wed on February 24th. Unfortunately, things were not going well for Cobain. He had become addicted to heroin and on May 2nd, overdosed in Seattle. In June he was arrested for domestic assault, and on June 23rd overdosed again in a New York City hotel bathroom before a show at the Roseland Ballroom. In August of the same year Cobain’s wife gave birth to their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Even France’s birth was a cause for scandal. A custody battle ensued after Love had foolishly stated in a magazine interview that she had used heroin while being pregnant. Despite this fact, the couple was granted custody on December 12th, 1992. With the incident behind them, the band released the album “Incesticide.” The record included singles and b-sides such as the previously released “Sliver.” “Incesticide” would eventually sell over 1 million albums.
The next year Nirvana released the album “In Utero,” which included the hits “Rape Me,” “All Apologies,” and “Heart-Shaped Box.” The album went 5x’s Platinum, but despite its success, it would be the group’s last studio album. On January 7th, 1994, Nirvana played what would end up being their last American show at the Seattle Center Arena in Washington. On February 6th in Rome, while taking a break from the band’s European tour, Cobain attempted suicide. He ended up in a coma for 20 hours and after returning home to Seattle threatened to kill himself again. On March 30th, Cobain sought help at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles, but left the next day. On April 8th 1994 Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home due to a self inflicted gunshot wound.
Only a few months later, in November, an acoustic album, which had been recorded in 1993, was released. “MTV Unplugged in New York” flew to the top of the charts and sold more than 5 million records. The surviving members, Novoselic and Grohl went their separate ways. Fortunately for Grohl, his musical career was far from over. He went on to form the hugely popular Foo Fighters. In October of 2002 Nirvana fans received an unexpected treat in the form of a previously unreleased track, “You Know You’re Right.” Although Nirvana’s life was a short in comparison to most bands, their impact cannot be overstated. Between October 2005 – 2006 Kurt Cobain’s estate actually earned more money than fellow dead celebrity “the King” himself, Elvis Presley. Although Nirvana may be gone, they are certainly not forgotten. Nirvana has left a legacy of music that will surely be enjoyed for generations to come.
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